28 April 2015

X Is For Xenophobia

During April, we're participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Every day (except Sundays), we’ll be doing an alphabet themed post starting with “A is for Adventurous” and ending with “Z is for Zinc”.

Sometimes, I think Mark Twain is overrated, but the man sure did have some good quotes. Like this one.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable view of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
I really struggled to come up with a topic for the letter X. There aren't a lot of them to pick from and, to be honest, I don't know what most of them mean. Like xenogamy and xylan. If I had to guess, I would think xenogamy is used to describe the practice of marrying xerox machines. Makes sense doesn't it. you know like monogamy and polygamy. Xylan of course refers to one of those alien robot creatures that Dr Who is always having to do battle with.*

But because I don't know much about xerox machines and I think you might not appreciate it if I get all Dr Who geeky on you, I decided to go with xenophobia as my X word instead. And that's where Mark Twain's quote comes in. People who are xenophobic have an irrational fear or hatred of strange and foreign people. Travel is one of the best ways to counteract xenophobia that I know of. Because when you travel, you learn to appreciate all of the differences between us, but you also learn to appreciate all the ways that we're the same. 

In the spirit of Mark Twain, I thought I would share a few photos from our travels over the years and how they can remind us that that despite our differences, we share so much in common.

We saw this dancer at an event for the homeless in Auckland, New Zealand. Yes, I think she is a he. That might seem a bit odd or different to some, but what I loved about watching the dancers was the pure joy they had on their faces when they were performing their number. Enjoying dance seems to be one of those universal things (whether dancing yourself or watching others).

We met these adorable kids on our way up to the Golden Triangle in Thailand. Look at how much fun they're having posing for the camera. Children have to learn prejudice, they aren't born with it.

You don't have to go far from your own little corner of earth to experience what seems strange and foreign. Like me, perhaps you didn't grow up in an area where people have a fondness for hunting and taxidermy. Until I met and married Scott, I didn't really have any understanding of why people enjoyed hunting. It still isn't something I want to do, but after spending time with Scott's relatives, I have a much better appreciation of folks who put food on the table for their families that they've shot themselves. 

Everybody has to eat. The food we eat may be different - and that's part of the fun of traveling, trying new cuisines - but, often you'll find we eat the similar things the world over, like yogurt.  

What have you learned to appreciate and understand better during your travels?

*Note: I just looked at a dictionary. Turns out I was wrong. Xenogamy refers to the transfer of pollen grains between plants and xylan is a fluropolomer-based industrial coating. Dictionaries are boring.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Anabel! I wondered if other people might write about xenophobia too.

  2. This post was "X-cellent" one of your best and most profound. I'm "X-static" to have been doing this challenge with you. "X-cited" to see what you come up with next. ;)

  3. Love ur take on Xenophobia. We grow with prejudice that destroy lives.

  4. That is a fantastic quote. And true too.

    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires

  5. I love that quote of Mark Twain's, I have seen it before and totally agree with it! Well done on your "X" post today. I wish everyone could have a chance to see a different country (sometime totally opposite of their own) and then maybe, just maybe people would have way more compassion for their fellow human beings. We really are the same in so many ways!


    1. I've been lucky enough to travel to many other countries, but what I've found fascinating is how much traveling around in my own country has challenged my prejudices etc.

  6. Yeah, I live in a country that is currently experiencing serious Xenophobic attacks, not at all cool. We whites are very much on the agenda for the future insanity. I got a good giggle from your two other X's, thanx. Blessings from a very envious Geoff in Johannesburg South Africa.

  7. What a challenge to do this A-Z blogging! Nicely done post on how staying in our comfortable homes makes us narrow minded and distrusting of the world. I guess people are people everywhere. Who'd have thought???

    1. The challenge has been truly challenging! Maybe you'll want to do it next year? You write so well and with such a great sense of humor that you would be able to pull the challenge off very nicely :-)

  8. I so agree with you about travel. Though we've only managed to travel abroad once so far, we're trying to decide if we plan another trip outside our borders. We used the same word for our X day, with a totally different result.........and yet, not so different after all.

    1. I just checked your xenophobia post out - love your take on the word! Very thought-provoking and a good challenge to us all about how we view the homeless.


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